HGG 2011 Gift-A-Day: Last minute gifts and stocking stuffer roundup

COUNTING IT DOWN

Whether you need to give to the coworkers, neighbors or just add to the gift stock pile by stuffing the stocking, these might help out on your decision making.

SPIRITS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH

Moon Mountain vodka makes this holiday season more “green” that is certified organic by the USDA. Made in America, the artisanally crafted vodka is made from Midwestern corn, but in small batches creating the right taste to make it the perfect spirit to toast the season. The vodka is priced at $19.99.

Available at major spirits retailers.

FORGET SANTA

These Biscoff cookies are a surprisingly addictive treat, that it may be hard to give away. The crispy biscuits with the caramel flavor are ideal with coffee or even on their own. And a welcome alternative to usual holiday sweets with their light touch. Made from Belgium, these treats are vegan and contain 0 grams trans fat and 0 cholesterol per serving. So your recipients will be quite happy about these. Coming in a variety of counts and packages, these Biscoff Cafe Totes house eight packages of two. So you can get one for yourself and then try to give the other one away. You could leave them out for Santa but try not to eat them before he does. Ten percent of the purchases of this item go toward Teach for America. A set of three is priced at $16.95.

Available through Biscoff.com.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

For the Star Wars gamer geek — er, loved ones — comes this quirky stylus set. Made for Nintendo DS products, Star Wars fans can have their very own Clone Wars with these character-designed stylus lightsabers.  The stylus can be used for DS Lite, XL and 3DS and is for ages six and up. Priced at $9.99.

Available at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and other major video game retailers.

 

GAY FILM FEST

Breaking Glass Pictures has made gift giving for your LGBT movie fan rather enticing. The company that distributed the locally-made Ticked Off Trannies with Knives is offering a 30 percent off purchases made during the holiday season. Stack up on indie gay movie faves like Violet Tendencies, The Big Gay Musical and the 30th anniversary edition of the gay classic Taxi Zum Klo. Head to the site withthe promotion code “holiday” and snag a bargain on the films. Hey, you might even get one for yourself.

Available at BreakingGlassPictures.com.

 

 

 

BRUSH AWAY

Expect an eye roll if you give kids a toothbrush, but once they start handling his Arm & Ammer Spinbrush Proclean, they might get more on board. The battery-operated brush is a simple, but effective way to keep those pearly whites, um, white, with the appeal of being a whirring gadget. Don’t talk about how better it is than a manual toothbrush and dental health. Yawn for days. Hype up the dual action technology, the durable body style and what a grown-up “toy” it is. Because, of course, adults can use it to. Retails between $8–9.

Available at retailers nationwide.

 

—  Rich Lopez

Overcoming fear and finding passion

Landon Starnes had to step outside his comfort zone to compete as Lotta Pink in the Miss LifeWalk Pageant

lotta1
Landon Starnes as Lotta Pink

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Talk to Landon Starnes about his involvement with LifeWalk, the annual walkathon benefiting AIDS Arms and its partner agencies, and you’ll hear

Starnes repeat the words “passion” and “fear” a lot.

Starnes said he let fear rule him for too long. But in the end, there’s no doubt that “passion” wins out.

Starnes, who works as a hairdresser, said that he was diagnosed with HIV in October 1998. But he wasn’t prepared to deal with reality, and so for years, he said, “I ignored my diagnosis emotionally.”

But then some friends began to encourage him to confront his HIV status by getting involved in LifeWalk, specifically by joining the Guys and Dolls LifeWalk team.

Starnes said it took him awhile to get up to speed, and he was involved with LifeWalk just “off and on” for several years. But three years ago, he decided to really take the plunge and has been an active member of the Guys and Dolls team ever since.

This year, even that got ratcheted up a notch when Starnes finally gave in to his teammates’ cajoling and entered the Miss LifeWalk Pageant.

“My team had been asking me for two years to enter the pageant, but I declined every time. I was just scared to death to do drag,” Starnes explained. “But this year, I decided to accept the challenge, even though it scared me.”

The first challenge was to come up with a character, so “I started brainstorming about a character, about who I would be,” Starnes said. “I started thinking about things I, as a person, am passionate about. And I am passionate about the singer Pink.

“Her music gets to me in a way that no one else’s does,” Starned continued. “Her lyrics inspire me. I think, if I had to pick just one, my favorite Pink song is ‘Glitter in the Air.’ It says, ‘Have you ever wished for an endless night?’ ‘Have you ever thrown a fistful of glitter in the air?’ It made me look into myself, literally. Last summer, while we were on a road trip, my friends and I stopped and actually threw a fistful of glitter in the air. It was silly and fun, and now it is a memory that will last forever.”

But there is one line in the song, Starnes said, that really touched him, one lyric that made him think and gave him the determination to set aside the fear that had held him back: “Have you ever looked fear in the face, and said, I just don’t care?”

It was, Starnes said, a spark that made his passion for LifeWalk and for doing something to help others blaze even brighter.

“I knew I wasn’t going to try to be Pink, but I love what she does. So I decided I would kind of pay tribute to her with my character,” Starnes said.

And so, Lotta Pink was born.

And lo and behold, Lotta Pink won the Miss LifeWalk title on her first try, helping Starnes bring in about $7,000 for LifeWalk this year, bringing his total over all his Guys and Dolls years to about $11,000.

Starnes said he and Lotta Pink obviously have a lot in common. “We share our passion for the cause, first of all, and second, we both want to step outside the box,” Starnes said. “I was afraid of doing drag. But my favorite quote is ‘Do it scared,’ so that’s what I did. I stepped outside the box and challenged myself, and in doing that, I learned that fears are just fears, nothing else.”

Starnes said that while his fears still remain to some degree, Lotta Pink “has no fear,” and she is helping him overcome his own.

“It’s easier when you can put on a wig and some makeup and kind of step outside yourself,” Starnes said. “Now, learning to step out without that disguise is what comes next!”

Knowing that what he does is all to help AIDS Arms and the clients the agency serves makes it even easier to put the fear aside, Starnes said.

“The Guys and Dolls team works all year, not just on the day of LifeWalk. And the people at AIDS Arms work all year trying to help other people. I love AIDS Arms, and I love what it stands for,” Starnes said. “The walk itself is symbolic, to me. It’s a short walk, yes, but just going through the movement of walking allows you to release your passion.

“Everybody who participates is there for their own reasons, but whatever the reason, they are passionate about it,” he continued. “That alone speaks volumes. The biggest thing that came out of all this for me was seeing how good people really are.”

Again, it all comes down to overcoming fear and fully realizing the passion.

“It’s so important for everyone to find their passion, whether it’s LifeWalk or something else,” Starnes said. “Finding my passion has lifted me to a whole new level of awareness, understanding and joy. It’s just such a positive energy when you are around all these people at LifeWalk who work so hard to make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s helped me find a happiness I have never known before.”

AIDS Arms LifeWalk will be held Sunday, Oct. 2, at Lee Park. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 1 p.m. For more information, go online to LifeWalk.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Wow, FoTF: How’s your headline gonna read when equality actually/inevitably *does* win?

Yesterday’s Prop 8 development was basically procedural. Largely unemotional for both sides. A setback in terms of time, but not a victory or a loss for either side in terms of the law (and in fact, groups like NOM actually seem to like the decisions).

Oh, but leave it to Focus on the Family, ever on a quest to make the 9th Circuit seem radical and out of touch with America, to turn the court’s processes into further slaps in their faces. This is seriously the headline the group’s using for its coverage of yesterday’s developments:

Screen Shot 2011-01-05 At 8.57.07 Am

[SOURCE]

*Note: The religious freedom part refers to a separate case revolving around the Mt Soledad cross.

So only the “undermines marriage” part affects us.

Wow — we know they’re all kinds of caught up in the unflattering 9th Circuit portrait-painting that they’ve taken on as a past time in recent months. But to say yesterday’s decision “undermines marriage”? Why that’s kind of like saying Bob and Joe’s benign happiness under the civil government to which they contribute taxes somehow destroys heterosexuals’ marriages.

Oh wait a minute…




Good As You

—  admin

Limbaugh On DADT repeal: ‘Does this mean Mrs. Clinton can finally … join the Marines?’




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Audio: ‘It doesn’t matter what society does’ says duo that claims gays don’t matter in society

Tony Perkins is a man who tells church congregations that gays are being “held captive by the enemy,” who tells the military that the open service-supporting Commander in Chief is “willing to jeopardize our nation’s security to advance the agenda of the radical homosexual lobby,” and who daily says to the public, through his position as head of the conservative behemoth Family Research Council, that LGBT people should remain unequal, unprotected, and unworthy of a slice of America’s proverbial pie.

Peter Sprigg, FRC’s Senior Policy Fellow, has gone even further than Tony:



*SOURCE: Gays seek immigration reform [Medill Reports]



*SOURCE: [MSNBC]

But don’t you DARE blame either of these two men for fostering the sort of world that causes gay people to internalize negative messages. You know, because it doesn’t matter what society does:

(click to play audio clip)

(Tony Perkins speaks first, Sprigg second)

*AUDIO SOURCE: Washington Watch Weekly [FRC]

Wash, wash, wash those hands of responsibility all you want, boys. Your heart, mind, and lips are all over the historical record.




Good As You

—  John Wright

Video:@SenGillibrand sits with, listens to booted soldiers. Something @[insert-GOP-repeal-foe] never does.



[In The Life]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Wait, NOM doesn’t know that they’re the ones wrecking the GOP’s future? Weird. Everyone else does.

On “Top Chef,” the contestants are always talking about being thrown under the bus (i.e. being sold out by one of their fellow contestants). Well today, it’s Chef NOM who’s serving up a heaping slice of nonsense over a bed of victimization, coated in a warm B.S. drizzle, and it’s those cooks in the GOP kitchen who prefer a more moderate temperature who are supposedly spoiling the feast:

Prediction: after Mehlman announced he’s gay, you will see an increasingly coordinated campaign by certain GOP establishment elites to jettison the marriage issue, an issue about which the majority of Americans–and 80 percent of Republicans–agree.

GOP Elites Try to Throw Marriage Under the Bus [National Organization For Marriage]

Only thing here? It’s Maggie Gallagher and NOM who have been throwing marriage — and, by extension, the GOP’s identity — under the bus for the past decade or so! Forget circus peanuts: It’s gay people’s marriage licenses that Maggie and crew have been using to tease the elephant, getting the party off course of so many actual societal discussion, and trampling so much good will under the pachyderm’s considerable feet. And increasingly, we’re seeing how the gumbo makes Dumbo feel all of his first four letters.

If there ever was a bipartisan bus in this country that might’ve been headed towards a shared sense of progress, then “the fight to save marriage™” will surely go Images-1down in history as one of the most ignoble, wantonly divisive, cruelly obnoxious reasons for that bus’ derailing. Those Republicans who are making some sort of good faith attempt at unifying or at least getting us past the contentious conversation that surrounds this issue are the ones who are trying, to varying degrees, to wipe the “marriage wars” stench from society’s taint. They are not the ones leaving skid marks on marriage, history, and the Republican party!




Good As You

—  John Wright